Tuesday, January 17, 2017

title pic Diana Barry Sneak Peek & a Last Minute Wedding

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on February 9, 2012

On Tuesday morning, I went as scheduled to one of my favorite locations for historical costume pictures and spent a couple of the most delightful hours having photographs taken in my “Anne of Avonlea” Diana Barry gown.  When I came back home, I spent a good several hours sorting through all the shots, making lighting adjustments to the pictures, and sizing them down to work on the blog.  When I went to bed on Tuesday evening, I figured that I would spend the majority of the next day writing and posting all the gorgeous pictures which had been taken at the mansion.
On Wednesday morning, the first news I was greeted with was that my engaged brother and his college sweetheart had decided to get married this week – and preferably that night!  Well, it would have been impossible to put together a wedding in one day (minor details such as the bride’s family being 2,000 miles away stood in their path), but we called a few friends and found a way to make it work just two days later!  So that day I took my future sister-in-law shopping for last-minute wedding supplies and necessary accessories, and we decided that I would make my own bridesmaid dress since her dress of choice from David’s Bridal would have taken several weeks to order.
The bride’s wedding dress was rush-processed at the alterations store back in Indiana, and her parents are heading out tomorrow morning with the gown in tow for the Friday evening wedding.  Thankfully my own dear mother is excellent at planning ahead, and had immediately decided upon her mother-of-the-groom attire shortly after the engagement was announced.  My brother and his best man will wear black suits, and my bridesmaid dress will be a royal purple (David’s Bridal calls the shade “Regency”).

The happily engaged couple!

As far as the details go, we knew of a church that was not booked for Friday night, so amazingly the location was quickly settled.  My father (an ordained minister who has performed a multitude of weddings!) will officiate the ceremony, an old friend of my brothers who has a degree in videography will tape the event, and an uncle who has a knack for photography will be on hand to lend his services.  My little cousin is going to have a purple dress purchased for her just in time for her to walk down the aisle as the flower girl, and my official job is to decorate the premises!
So if you could see me the next twenty four hours, I will be doing some alterations to my mother’s gown, making about three thousand tulle bows and rosettes for the decorations, sewing my dress in a couple of short hours, helping the engaged couple move into their new apartment, and hopefully curling my hair!    I think I have in mind what I’d like to make, and I believe I will be able to use a standard pattern for it.  The design I’ve always thought ideal for a bridesmaid dress is very similar to this one that Jessica McDonald sewed for her sister’s wedding in 2010.  I will certainly be posting wedding pictures, but first I wanted to give you a sneak peek of the Diana Barry dress that I have been so excited to share.
There is a ridiculous amount of detail on the front of the gown, and the pictures are absolutely fabulous, but I’m afraid I won’t have time to put the rest of them up until after the wedding this weekend.
I am so excited for the marriage and for my dear brother and sister-in-law.  It is certainly not the first last-minute  wedding I’ve been the maid of honor for, as a couple of years ago a friend of mine announced she was getting married in a couple of weeks and needed me to sew my dress and her veil.  This time I have two days instead of two weeks, but I’m sure it will be wonderful!  You really don’t need a whole year to plan a wedding.
Last week my best friend from childhood announced that she is in a relationship with someone and wants me to be her maid of honor when the wedding takes place…  I was delighted of course, but all I have to say is that she’d better give me a little bit of notice!  : )  I will be making her gown, but I will certainly need much longer than two days to put the whole thing together! : )
So thank you for bearing with me as my schedule has turned upside down, and I would appreciate prayers for the wedding to go smoothly!

title pic Diana Barry’s Walking Skirt

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on February 4, 2012

Of all the exquisite gowns from the Edwardian era, I think that none were so elegant and understated as a fitted walking skirt which trailed behind the wearer in a slight train when she walked.  Anne Shirley and Diana Barry looked so graceful in their flowing skirts from Anne of Avonlea, and Diana Barry’s “going away” dress (which I have been excitedly recreating) is certainly no exception!


The pattern cover is copyright by www.sensibility.com

While I had nearly finished the bodice for Diana Barry’s lovely going away ensemble, the skirt remained to be sewn in what I was hoping would be a very easy task.  And I was not disappointed!
Initially my observations of Diana’s skirt led me to believe that I would have to draft it entirely from scratch since it didn’t have too many visible seams or skirt gores.  Perhaps it’s just the fact that her dress is shown for such a short scene, but somehow it didn’t look like the skirt had many gores in it.  But then I thought, “Who is really going to mind if I use an easy published pattern since no one can see the seams on the film costume anyhow?”  So I proceeded to sew the skirt using the terrific nine-gore “Beatrix Skirt Pattern” from Sense & Sensibility Patterns.  Please note that these pictures do not show the final “v” belt which will be worn over the skirt’s waistband.  But it will look just like the movie costume once it is all worn as one outfit!
I don’t know when I’ve had an easier pattern to work with – the skirt came together in a few hours, plus a couple hours of hemming by hand.  While this pattern was based on an original 1909 design and the Anne of Avonlea movie suggests that it takes place in 1902 (thanks to a poster in a “Kingsport” scene), I think it works just perfectly for Anne Shirley reproductions!

Thank God for Gingher pinking shears!

And speaking of seams, I am so glad I learned how to press seams properly many years ago!  You would not believe what a huge difference it makes in “before” and “after” pictures.  And since this skirt has nine gores (and therefore lots of prominent seams!) it is crucial that the seams lay flat, are well pressed, and are as unnoticeable as possible.  You can see below how the seams looked before and after pressing, and if you have never learned the “five-step pressing method”, I would highly recommend that you read the tutorial I wrote here.

I almost hate to put this picture online, but it shows how important pressing is!

I absolutely love the way this skirt fits!  I have rarely found a skirt pattern that is so flattering and has such a perfect blend of fit and ease.  It is almost snug in the waist area, then flares into the most becoming a-line silhouette.
In the back I slightly altered the pleats to resemble the original movie costume.  You can really adjust the fullness in back in any way you want, or you can even cut the skirt out so that it’s flat in the back without any pleating.  But personally I think it is very elegant to include the pleats which drape into elegant folds towards the lower part of the skirt.
The only change I made to the pattern was adding a waistband.  By simply taking your waist measurement and adding a couple inches for seam allowances and ease, then determining how tall you want the band to be (times two plus 1 1/4″ for seams) you can instantly draft the pattern piece and cut out a rectangular piece according to these dimensions.  I like to interface only one half of the long side of the waistband so that it has a natural fold line for the perfect crease down the center.
When I took these photographs on the mannequin, I hadn’t yet had time to hem it by hand, so I just folded the edges under in the pictures.  But it looks much better since yesterday!  I always do my hand hemming while I’m watching a film of some sort, and yesterday the selection of choice was the fabulous 2009 “Emma” by BBC.  This four hour drama was the perfect amount of time for me to sew tiny, nearly invisible hand stitches around the lower edge of the skirt and attach the antique lace to the bodice.  My mother and I (along with my future sister-in-law) had the most enjoyable afternoon watching this period Jane Austen film, and it certainly helped the hand sewing pass quicker!
You’ll notice that I did not put the Diana Barry bodice on the dress form for these pictures, since I want it to be more of a surprise for the final photo shoot.  But I did pull out my Edwardian shirtwaist that I made last summer and tucked it into the skirt.  I really think you could almost wear this as an outfit, even if you didn’t have the film bodice!  That’s the thing I love so much about the Edwardian era, that unlike previous decades where each outfit was meant to stand alone, you could mix and match different blouses and skirts for an entire wardrobe of elegant outfits.
Well, I have rambled on for long enough and should go sew the belt to finish up this costume, but assuming I can have the photo shoot on the intended day, you can expect full costume pictures to be online next week!
Happy sewing,

title pic Three Fabulous 1950s Dress Patterns

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on January 30, 2012

I am momentarily interrupting my previously scheduled “Diana Barry” Edwardian gown project by posting about my “new” vintage 1950s patterns! This past Christmas my dear family gave me one of the greatest presents I could have thought of – a gift certificate to So Vintage Patterns!  So after spending many delightful hours poring over the many thousands of vintage patterns available, I chose three patterns which were all printed in the 1950s.  Today, after many days of watching the mailbox, my patterns arrived!  They are even more beautiful than how they looked online, and I can’t wait to try them out this spring!
I have been aware for the last year or so that the 1950s era is quickly becoming my favorite “wearable” costume era, so it’s not surprising that I chose three patterns within the same time period.  But while these designs have a lot of similarities, I realized today that I managed to get all three main skirt styles from the 50s represented in these patterns – Advance 6896 has wide pleats at the top of the full skirt, Vogue 9114 has an even larger skirt silhoutte with lots of gathers, and Butterick 6835 boasts a bouffant circular skirt which fits smoothly into the bodice with a straight waist.
My first choice (Vogue 9114) was chosen partially due to the distinctive diagonal darts/release tucks, but I’m afraid the main reason was because of the lovely pink floral print on the dress illustration!  I love that white hat and the long, trailing ribbon on the dress.  Wouldn’t it make the perfect vintage Easter ensemble?

Look at that adorable pink dress! I can't wait to sew a dress from this pattern.

My favorite of the patterns (Butterick 6835) is simply darling!  It has a flattering circular skirt and the most adorable bodice with a sloped midriff seam, pintucked upper bodice, and short or long raglan sleeves.  I think the illustrated model in the light pink semi-sheer dress wears the prettiest outfit on the pattern cover.  I would love to make this up in a dotted swiss, batiste, or cotton eyelet!  And that fold down collar is so cute!
Then there’s Advance 6896 which was listed on the site as “So I Love Lucy“.  Well, if there’s one thing that will sell me on a pattern it would be likening it to Lucille Ball’s dresses, and after careful inspection I definitely agree that this is very similar to some of her screen outfits.  What makes this dress so “Lucy” is the shirtwaist dress, winged collar, but most importantly – those long, diagonal bust darts which were so uniquely placed make this almost an exact replica of a number of her costumes.
So after this slight diversion into 50s fashion, I will soon have my “Diana Barry” Edwardian film costume finished up.  But just as soon I get it off the sewing table and into the closet, I will have an awful lot of 1950s dresses to look forward to!
Happy sewing!